I climbed the La Luz trail on the west side of Albuquerque’s Sandia Mountains on a mid-Summer Sunday in 2007. I’d been taking the Sandia Tram up above the 10,000′ mark nightly for a couple of weeks prior, getting ready for my third attempt on Colorado’s Mount Elbert. I came up short two years prior, getting altitude sickness at about the 13,000′ mark.
I thought, having spent hours above 10,000′ in the preceding weeks, I was ready to climb up, but at 8,850′, about nine miles in, I hit the wall. Every step upward felt like the worst hangover I’d ever had. so I turned back. I ran out of water three miles short of the tram station and stumbled in the lot dangerously dehydrated. I have not felt right since that day.
A year later, on June 11th, while being tested for multiple sclerosis, I was told I had Lyme disease antibodies. Four day later while hiking Chapel Falls, I was bit by a deer tick, I developed a spiral rash on my thigh, and since I had the sense to photograph how it progressed during my first course of antibiotics, I don’t have to spend too much time arguing with doctors about it.
Coming undone from polite society has been a rough ride, but in many ways I’ve been lucky to be discarded. I have gone where I wanted, photographing, writing, and digging into topics I’d have never mastered had I remained in the workforce. The cascade of changes has been … interesting, to say the least.
I owned a small engineering consulting firm and I was in New Mexico due to a network implementation for a Metaswitch customer. My business was voice, video, and data for small to medium service provides. I still employ the skills I developed during the decade I did that sort of thing, but the world has changed, so now it’s cloud hosting, VPNs, and Adversary Resistant Computing that fill my time, at least on the technology front.
I first got interested in counter-terrorism science in early 2009, thanks to Chet Uber, the founder of Project VIGILANT. That only lasted six months before that organization’s reckless operations became too much for me. But ever since then I’ve kept an eye on that area, developing a practice in the analysis of social networks and infrastructure.
I thought I could close the door on that unfortunate episode, now that Chelsea Manning is to be freed, but a month ago I published Fact Checking @LouiseMensch On @Wikileaks and this has led to one of those cascades of unintended consequences. A few days ago I made a California Legal Research Request and thanks to this someone with a big civil case noticed me, and after years of hourly engagements I just received my first big contingency case.
I’m still very interested in Dark Mountain’s Eight Principles Of Uncivilization, but constantly looking over my shoulder on behalf of our species is putting a crick in my neck. It’s time to focus on what’s in front of me and see if I am actually in a position to dig out from a decade of poor health.
I never approve comments from any of you to protect you from unwanted attention, but I want to take a moment to acknowledge the value of those occasional whispers, and the changes they bring.